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Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark, Physician / Surgeon
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 11946
Experience:  U.S. Surgeon / Neurological Surgery
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My wife woke up with a "hard" lump in the back of her head,

Resolved Question:

My wife woke up with a "hard" lump in the back of her head, which is causing a headache.
The pain increases when she puts pressure on the lump. She has no idea where the lump came from and has no history of headaches. She woke up with headache pain and taking advil has not helped her.
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 7 years ago.
How large is this lump?

Is the area reddened? Is this near the level of her ears, or is further up the back of the head?

Has she had any recent infections or injuries to the face or scalp?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
The lump is between the size of a almond or slightly larger.
The level is about the same as her ears, I am not with her so I can't confirm if the lump is reddened.

She has not had any recent infections or injuries to the face or scalp. In fact, we just returned from a one week vacation hwere she relaxed.
Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 7 years ago.

Something that size, in the scalp could be a couple of things.

It could be a sebaceous cyst -- an area in the scalp that can be filled with oil like substance that collects in the layers of the skin, and can lead to a tender lump in the skin:

Another issue can be lymph node swelling, as the occipital lymph nodes can swell up in response to infection or inflammation, and create a tender, soft lump in the back of the scalp in that region.

Of course, without examining the actual area, it's difficult to tell for sure, but relatively quick onset of a lump appearing in the scalp could probably be one of the two above causes.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Quick question - Is the assumption that her headache directly related to the sebaceous cyst or the lymph node swelling.

Thank you, Paul
Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 7 years ago.
Well, tenderness in the back of the scalp can irritate the nerves in the scalp and cause headache pains, primarily the ones that travel up the back of the head.

So it certainly is possible.

Of course, the headache could be entirely unrelated.

So, should this continue to be unusual for her, having her see a doctor is best, ***** ***** diagnosis can't be made over the Internet.
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